Thursday, October 29, 2015


Windows 10 has some really cool features, when they work. Like connecting to your network and installing printers, which used to be fairly painful if you didn't do it all the time. 

But. While Microsoft is working hard to make things compatible, the computer manufacturers are behind. People are ordering new computers with Windows 10, partly because of the glitzy media campaign, the promise of something new, and partly because Windows 7 computers are getting harder to find and more expensive. 

While setting up a nice, new Windows 10 laptop from Dell yesterday, I encountered errors trying to create the Recovery Media. So, I sat down for a nice, long tech support chat with Dell. You might want a comfy chair and a beverage for this.

First, he tells me I have to call Microsoft, since I'm not using the Dell application to create the Recovery Media. I say no, this is a new Dell machine and you are obliged to support it during the warranty. And there IS no Dell application on Windows 10. Next, he sends me to several links to download the Dell Backup and Recovery Manager (DBRM), to create the Recovery Media. I'd already searched the problem and knew the DBRM was incompatible with computers shipped with Windows 10. 

In fact, in large bold letters on the page he sent me to download it was a big warning NOT to install it on new machines shipped with Windows 10. Half an hour more out of my life, he's finally convinced. So, I ask again how to create the Recovery Media. He asks me what that means. I ask to be bumped up to a more-experienced tech. He ignores my request. I explain part of the process of setting up a new computer involves creating Backup Media - DVDs, flash drive - to recover the operating system, drivers and original software should the Recovery Partition become damaged or infected. Or the hard drive fails. Which will save $30-100 and a week of your time by not having to purchase them during a disaster. If they're available.

He comes back with "Oh, we have that on flash drive". I say "Great, send it to me, and include it with all new computers with Windows 10 until you find another solution". 

Bottom line, so far - New computers aren't completely ready for Windows 10. If you're looking for a new computer, seriously consider getting one with Windows 7, which comes with the free Windows 10 Upgrade by the end of July of next year. Where can you get such an animal? Dell. 

So be it. Dell is really good at Windows 7 computers, if you stay away from the low-end Celeron and AMD processors and stick with i5 or i7 and 6 or 8GB RAM. 

But hurry. Inventory is dwindling, and in my best QVC voice "When they're gone, they're gone". 

Cathy Contant     31-573-4905

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Maybe you noticed your computer slowed down a bit last week, or that it didn't respond to your clicks as quickly as usual. Or, the familiar updates shield appeared on your Shut Down button. 

Although Time Warner (RoadRunner) and Facebook, among other services, experienced some service issues and outages at times, the real culprit was probably automatic updates to your computer. 

Microsoft released a round of patches for all supported operating systems, and some require a restart of your computer to finish. You may notice they're still installing when the computer starts up again; this is normal. Let them finish and you'll be on your way a lot faster than if you try to jump in too soon. 

Also this month, updates for Adobe Flash, AIR, Adobe Reader, Mozilla Firefox and Java have been released. Some may prompt you to update, some may come in automatically. If you have the Ninite installer on your computer, run it now to install most of the updates with the least amount of work. 

Ninite can't update Flash, so you'll need to do that yourself. You may see a prompt to install Flash, or you can go to the Adobe web site to update it. Be sure to do it with both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, as they use different versions.

While you're cleaning and updating, check your backup to be sure it's working properly and the files you want to save are actually backing up. Don't know how? Ask!

Cathy Contant                           315-573-4905